Tell Me About It: Protective Gear or Telecommunication?

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Man Wearing a Voice Pipe, ca.1915. The Mariners’ Museum, #P0001.004-PC189.

Tell Me About It is an occasional blog on photographs that have piqued my curiosity for some reason. I am seeking information from you, our readers, in hopes of learning more about these subjects.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that this contraption is a Speaking Tube–I had cataloged it as a gas mask. The photograph is World War I vintage (that’s my excuse!).   Read more

Fabulous Fotos: A winter’s day // In a deep and dark December…

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Panoramic view of a partially frozen lake.
Wrechen Lake, Germany, 2016, Thomas Meyer. The Mariners’ Museum, #MS0661-15.

Lyric from I Am a Rock, Simon & Garfunkel, released 1965.

Nothing says winter visually like a blanketed sky and soft lighting. The scene is captured in muted colors except for a child in a bright blue jacket.   Read more

A Year of Reflection: Our Favorite Photos of 2021

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Farquhar Celestial Navigation Sphere Device 1X3, collection-number: 1953.0021.000001. Photo: Brock Switzer/ The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

If you’re reading this blog post, then, first, congratulations! You made it through 2021 or, as I’ve seen it called, 2020 part two. All joking aside, it has been a whirlwind of a year. Pandemic numbers ebbed and flowed like tides, and we all tried our best to return to some semblance of normalcy in our lives, most of us finding out that “normal” has changed.

For our part, the Museum reopened our galleries and invited you all to join us once more, to connect with the world’s waters and to each other. Our staff returned, events resumed, and our work continued. We never really closed at the onset of the pandemic. We simply switched to providing what we could to our community on virtual platforms. Now we are back in person, and Amanda and I have had a lot of photographing to do.   Read more

Vessel Launches: Heckin Good Images

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A crowd and raised platform for the sponsor and guests are in front of a decorated vessel about to be christened.
Mariners’ Museum Collection P0001.003/01-#PB5730

The Mariners’ Museum and Park has glorious photographs in its collections, of course, many of them maritime. Despite the number of battle-at-sea images, many of the most striking visuals are vessel launches.

Transferring a vessel to water is a military tradition seen as a public celebration or even a blessing of sorts. Some of these images are so strong that you can practically feel the drama or the excitement of the crowds. There is power in a majestic vessel seen juxtaposed against the miniature people or in images capturing the ceremonial christening of launching a bottle against a hull.   Read more

Telling a Story: A Documentarian Eye

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Senior Conservator Elsa Sangouard and Archaeological Conservators Laurie King and Lesley Haines screen concretion removed from USS Monitor artifacts.

A man of many hats

I did not expect how many photography styles I would have to be familiar with as a museum photographer. I might have on my technical photographer hat; focused on meeting set standards to ensure precision reproduction is possible. A little later on, I might become a still-life photographer and carefully craft lighting to create a beautiful image of an artifact. That afternoon, I might have to be a documentarian and follow staff members that are doing interesting work. 

If you’re familiar with my photography, you will probably know that I am typically the happiest when I’m in the studio working with lighting to create images that make our artifacts look beautiful. What can I say? I’m a bit of a control freak, and the level of control I get to exert in the studio is comforting to me. That said, every once in a while, it’s good to step out into the wide world outside my studio doors and take photos with less control.    Read more